The Gulf conflict, 1990–1
DOI link for The Gulf conflict, 1990–1
The Gulf conflict, 1990–1 book
Sixteen weeks of anxiety, argument and fierce battle held a world breathless before its TV screens between November 1990 and late February 1991. Not since the Second World War had there been seen the disruption and carnage represented by almost 30 nations fielding over one million men, and the death and destruction raining down on military emplacements and inhabited towns and villages. A coalition, seeing itself as authorized by the UN Security Council, confronted a dictator who had annexed a neighbouring state, stopped his forces in their tracks and reversed the hostilities decisively. The coalition was able to launch a Hot War in consequence of unanimity achieved by the melting away of the Cold War. Yet the operation that proceeded under such phases as Desert Shield, Desert Sword, Desert Storm and Desert Sabre, and accomplished with military flair, has thrown up many questions during the onrush of the undertaking and ever since. Could the eruption of the crisis have been better foreseen? Was it not likely that combustible elements in the Middle East, so readily apparent, would burst into flames unless preventive measures were thoughtfully and carefully implemented? At what points did misinterpretation and lack of objectivity cause appraisal and discussion to go off the rails and so precipitate situations that could not be retrieved? What was to be the function of the UN in dealing with threats and disputes at that time and in that place? Were the alternatives to using military force adequately considered? Was this a war that should and could have been avoided? Was a final “victory” an objective that the UN Charter could underwrite as the restoration of peace and security or was it the culmination of a win-or-lose mission that had to destroy in order to reach a conclusion? How far in maintaining and restoring international peace and security can the UN legitimately resort to force?